Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Judge frees former finance minister Ignatius Chombo on $5,000 bail… slams arbitrary detention

By Ed Cropley | Reuters |

A Zimbabwean judge freed ousted finance minister Ignatius Chombo on bail on Thursday in a ruling that underlined judicial independence just three weeks after the army helped depose Robert Mugabe.

Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo arrives at court to face corruption charges, in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo arrives at court to face corruption charges, in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Chombo, a senior member of the ‘G40’ faction of the ruling party that was targeted in the military’s Nov. 15 intervention, was dragged from his home in the middle of the night and held incommunicado by soldiers at an undisclosed location for a week.

During that time he was beaten, according to his lawyer. He was arrested by police on his release and charged with fraud and abuse of office relating to his time as a government minister over a decade ago.

The Harare magistrate’s court denied him bail.

However, High Court judge Edith Mushore condemned that ruling as “littered with mis-directions” and “wading into the muddy court of public opinion” after the massive army-backed protests that helped topple Mugabe after 37 years in power.

Chombo, 65, was ordered to be released on $5,000 bail, surrender his passport and the title deeds of his Harare mansion and report to a police station in the capital three times a day.

The tone and substance of Mushore’s ruling also sent a stern message to the army-backed administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa about the independence of the courts and the primacy of the law, aspects of public life often ignored by Mugabe.

During his detention by the military, Chombo had been denied basic rights enshrined in the constitution such as access to justice and presumption of innocence, Mushore said.

In particular, she said Zimbabweans needed to know they “can sleep at night” without the fear of arbitrary detention in secret locations beyond the reach of lawyers or family – a common feature of the police state run by Mugabe.

“The public in Zimbabwe needs to know that they have a right to access to justice,” she said.

Chombo was one of several G40 figures detained during the military’s “Operation Restore Legacy” that was officially launched to remove “criminals” around Mugabe.

Most Zimbabweans interpreted this as meaning Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife Grace, who was positioning herself as a successor to her 93-year-old husband at the expense of Mnangagwa, who was purged from the ruling party in early November.

Chombo’s lawyer says he will deny the charges when his trial starts. In a cursory analysis, Mushore characterised the state’s case against him as “mere allegation”.

  • Madhuku should be going to the bank a smiling man!

  • eish why are you doing this nxaaa

  • Hmmmmm achasura chete kumhata kwake

  • Lock 🔐 the old madala for life no bail

  • $5000 bail kkkkk

  • That guy must rot in jail…nxaaa…you jus spoiled my day

    • ehe zvako ndasuwa ndoda tissue misodzi irikuyerera. ko mari iripi corruption izere

  • Eish dzemudanga dzatanga unhu wadzo

  • can we.say.hes free No. Reporting3 times a day. To much

  • Judge uyu ummm ane faction chete uyu.

  • Good

  • ko ZANU hamuizive here? come 2018 just vote for change that’s all. its funny how you expect a change killer to be a change bringer!

    • Without electoral reforms forget about removing ZANU pf

  • Imbavha hayo but hope decision ya judge is not from army

  • The condition is harsh. Reporting three times a day. Well, he deserves it though!

    • Kwaniko …anongozviita for awk zvatopera izvo

  • Zvatopera izvi. Zvafa so

  • These guys know each other..Its us being fooled kkk

  • Judge aita basa rake ndo Democracy yamuri kuchemerera ka budisai vamwe NEXT!

  • How the mighty have fallen…who ever thought such a scene in Zimbabwe can be witnessed in our lifetime?

  • Judges verdict is final. Every case is judged on facts and evidance. You can not deny him bail kana lawyer achigona kupatsanura nyaya.

  • its short lived

  • Satan+Satan= God÷Jesus, that’s Zimbabwe

  • What do you mean he has been released?? This cant be right!

    • ehe so vese vachadaro ndijudge here kana kuti ndi ED or General hmmm i smell a rat

  • Magistrate homwe yazvimba
    Let hope uyu Doctor Love mo Madhuku haana kunanha shizha risiri rake kuba rudo kumukadzi wemusungwa mushure mokunge Client yake mbavha inokunda vana Masendeke iri muutapwa

  • Zvatovharana so.

  • At least he was tortured and thoroughly bashed…he felt the pain and the horror of detention and a smelly prison cell..he is already finished,a dead man walking. F***k Chombo!

  • Zvatopera so..

  • Vatotanga kuitisana mari.mere accusation???

  • Prescription yacho ndoo ma 1 kkkkkkk.ingogarirako mdhara apa uchazotongwazve.u deserve more nfact

  • Hard core criminal

  • Uchingopinda mumba otokomuka kudzokera kumapurisa futi. Pakaipa mudhara chawakadya chamuka.